The NCAA released a statement today concerning Cam Newton's eligibility. He is eligible to play, has been eligible for the whole season, and will be available for the SEC Championship this weekend.
First, the verdict:
Auburn University football student-athlete Cam Newton is immediately eligible to compete, according to a decision today by the NCAA student-athlete reinstatement staff. The NCAA concluded on Monday that a violation of amateurism rules occurred, therefore Auburn University declared the student-athlete ineligible yesterday for violations of NCAA amateurism rules.
When a school discovers an NCAA rules violation has occurred, it must declare the student-athlete ineligible and may request the student-athlete's eligibility be reinstated. Reinstatement decisions are made by the NCAA national office staff and can include conditions such as withholding from competition and repayment of extra benefits. Newton was reinstated without any conditions.
It is surprising that the news of him being ruled ineligible on Tuesday by Auburn wasn't leaked, especially given the history of this case. The NCAA quickly ruled on the school's request for him to be reinstated, most likely because of the important game this weekend.
Both parties, Auburn and the NCAA, agree that "the student-athlete’s father and an owner of a scouting service worked together to actively market the student-athlete as a part of a pay-for-play scenario in return for Newton’s commitment to attend college and play football."
Auburn has limited the access of Cecil Newton, Cam's father, and Mississippi has completely dissociated itself from him as well.
Most notably in the release, the NCAA says that "the student-athlete has not participated while ineligible." Sorry Georgia fans, but Auburn's win was legal as of now.
In determining how a violation impacts a student-athlete’s eligibility, we must consider the young person’s responsibility. Based on the information available to the reinstatement staff at this time, we do not have sufficient evidence that Cam Newton or anyone from Auburn was aware of this activity, which led to his reinstatement.
The release does not completely close the investigation though, and leaves loopholes if more information comes to light. But for now, this seems to have been taken care of.
One thought on this ruling: the NCAA is saying that because Cam didn't know, he has done no wrongdoing and is eligible. Does that mean in the future representatives (family, boosters, etc.) can shop players, just as long as they don't tell the athlete?